Slot (commonly known as a slot machine) is a gambling device that accepts paper tickets or cash. A person inserts money, or in the case of “ticket-in/ticket-out” machines, a barcoded paper ticket with a magnetic stripe, into the slot and activates the machine by pushing a button or lever. The reels spin and, if the machine displays a winning combination of symbols, the player earns credits according to the paytable. Symbols vary by game, but classics include fruits, bells, and stylized lucky sevens. Most slot games have a theme.
The term “slot” can also refer to a position or location on a computer motherboard. A motherboard has several expansion slots, each of which can hold a different type of add-in card. These cards can be used to expand the functionality of a system, such as adding memory or a graphics card. The
A number of psychological and economic studies have investigated the enjoyment people get from playing slots. A major finding is that most players enjoy the game because of arousal triggered by intermittent rewards, rather than the actual amount of money won. Other researchers have found that the continuous nature of slot play, and the attention-capturing rewards, distracts players from thinking about negative aspects of their lives, which may be why they like it. These findings are consistent with the hedonic adaptation model of pleasure. However, other theories suggest that other variables are at work as well.